Bristol blues rockers, Tax the Heat, fire up the crowd in Bath with help from Meeking and The Vigil.
28-July-2016: Moles in Bath is a curious venue. From outside, it looks like your average high street shop. But walk in and you find a spacious foyer, before heading down a flight of stairs to a venue that, like their burrowing namesake, is underground and intimate. At the back of the venue, a projector is showing a loop of music videos by The Cure, which is all rather strange given that none of the bands playing tonight are anything close to Robert Smith and company.
A smattering of people are on hand to watch Bristol outfit The Vigil, who sound like every grunge band youâ€™ve ever heard rolled into one. Mainly Nirvana but with hints of both Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. They seem out-of-place musically, but theyâ€™re loud and powerful, with frontman Olly Smith leading them in suitably heavy fashion through songs like “No One Wins” and “Nothing Sacred.” Itâ€™s also apparent that Robbie Schuck is a talented lead guitarist, though his solos sometimes feel like they donâ€™t fit the songs. Nevertheless, itâ€™s a solid set, though they played to a small audience of those who arrived early.
Main support comes from local boys Meeking. The trio invokes the spirits of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac to create a dreamy, atmospheric blues-rock sound that carries beautifully through the venue. In contrast to The Vigil, this band is laid back. Whilst there are heavier moments in songs like “I Am Because We Are” and “204,” for the most part, itâ€™s the calm before the storm, and well received on all fronts.
Fresh from a blistering set at Steelhouse Festival on the weekend is Tax the Heat. The place is packed, and viewing is difficult, especially when the stage is barely a foot tall. Even so, nobody seems to care and for the next sixty-five minutes, they gleefully bounce along to some of the best rock n’ roll to come out of the UK in a long time.
Itâ€™s the whole of their debut album, Fed to the Lions, on show tonight, but the band also surprise by pulling a storming cover of The Yardbird’s “Lost Woman” seemingly out of nowhere. As for the rest of the songs, there are the Aerosmith tinges during “Animals,” the Rainbow-inspired “Your Fool,” and the Royal Blood-meets-Thin Lizzy vibe of “Lost Our Way.” The band sounds great and in top form; their energy is as infectious as those in attendance.
“Devilâ€™s Daughter” is greeted with cheers from people who had wanted to hear the track at Steelhouse whilst “Highway Home” rounds off what has been a triumphant set for all concerned. Itâ€™s almost too short â€“ fifty minutes isnâ€™t long for a headliner â€“ but the band came back for one last song and planted a big red cherry on top of the cake.
Tax the Heat have been on fire this evening, and based on their performance and crowd response, theyâ€™ll be burning for a long time to come.